Karen Hochman Brown’s series, “Botanic Geometry,” is a vivid collection of digitally manipulated photographs, printed on aluminum, that invoke the detailed symmetry of crushed glass, reflected through the lens of a kaleidoscope. Even more, the intense vibrancy of the work brings to mind the cosmic patterns that we recognize as the mandala.
According to Carl Jung, the mandala is a vehicle through which those who are willing to pause long enough to access their true inner voice can become more attuned to understanding, a step toward accepting their place in the world. Likewise, Hochman Brown’s work speaks to her viewers in much the same way. Not only is each piece a reflection of the earth’s organic beauty, but the collection as a whole invites us to examine our true selves as well as our place in the cosmos.
Beyond the mystical draw of Hochman Brown’s works, her process is equally intriguing. With each piece, she begins by importing a photograph of a flower or other plant form into a modular graphics-synthesizer program where she can implement a variety of applications such as polar space, fractal space, assorted modulations, reflections, waves, distortions, and symmetry. These applications are what allow her to manipulate a single image into a number of kaleidoscopic compositions that she then layers, one on top of the other, while adding shadows and formations of light to create an illusion of depth.
There’s no denying that Hochman Brown’s work induces a semblance of calm in her audience. Her subjects, devoid of manipulation, remind us, if nothing else, of nature’s organic beauty. Yet, it is through her artistic lens that she initiates more than just an appreciation of nature. Rather, she urges us to contemplate and to consider all that surrounds us with the perspective that, no matter what one’s cultural background or religious belief, we are all connected to one another and, beyond, to the cosmos.
“Karen Hochman Brown Shows Us the Beauty of Math in “Botanic Geometry”, excerpt
By Anise Stevens